The story starts out with an assassination attempt on Professor Charles Xavier as he is holding a speech at a one world harmony concert by Lila Cheney. To all appearances, the assassin seems to be Cable, the para-militant half-cyborg and former leader of the New Mutants/X-Force. The projectile used during the assassination is infected with a variant strain of the techno-organic virus that infected Nathan Christopher, the son of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Madelyne Pryor (the Goblin Queen, a clone of Jean Grey).
While Xavier is rushed to the hospital, Scott and Jean are attacked by the Horsemen of Apocalypse. Caliban, the former Morlock and ally of the X-Men, abducts Scott and Jean while Iceman and Colossus are distracted by War and Famine.